Istapp

Blekinge

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As a rule, it is very difficult to get people from English-speaking countries to listen to songs that are performed in other languages. But in the metal underground, some Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish black metal and folk-metal bands have managed to get headbangers from the U.K., the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and North America to listen to songs that are performed in Scandinavian languages. Here's the ironic part: that may be a reflection of the fact that so many English-language death metal and black metal vocalists have a long history of being hard to understand. In other words, English- speaking moshers would say things like, "That singer is so hard to understand that he might as well be singing in Swedish" -- so when a black metaller really was singing in Swedish, it wasn't a big change from what moshers were already used to hearing. And on Istapp's Blekinge, the lyrics are in Swedish, which shouldn't be a problem for those who are used to hearing Finntroll, Khold, and others singing in languages other than English. Those who don't speak Swedish won't understand the lyrics on "Evig Köld Koncentrerad," "Köldens Unionv," "Fjällhöga Nord," or "I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten," but that doesn't mean they won't be able to feel what is going on; Blekinge is a great-sounding album of melodic black metal and folk-metal regardless of one's linguistic abilities. As aggressively as Blekinge rocks, Istapp obviously aren't the type of band that governs by brute force alone; this is extreme metal with a lot of melody and a lot of nuance. Traditional Nordic folk is a strong influence on this 2010 release, and it serves Istapp well. Blekinge won't appeal to purists who believe that black metal must always be as vicious as possible, but moshers who appreciate folk-metal and the more melodic side of black metal will find a lot to savor here -- even if they don't speak Swedish.

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